A Carnival of Innovation!

  1. A Unique Record
  2. Letter from Fiona
  3. "What leads to innovation in mental healthcare? Reflections on clinical expertise in a bureaucratic age"
  4. Solihull Academy
  5. New on the website
  6. 70 Years of the Mulberry Bush School
  7. Listening in to a conversation.
PETT eNewsletter 35, July 16, 2018

1. A Unique Record

"I consider the archive to be a unique record and reflection of the remarkable developments in social, humanitarian and psychological approaches to the treatment of emotional and mental health over the past hundred years."

- Dr. Peter Bennett, 2016 recipient of the Royal Anthropological Institute's Marsh Award for Anthropology in the World; Governor of HMP Grendon, Europe's only fully therapeutic community prison, 2002-2011.

2. Letter from Fiona

June 29th, 2018: Transition Project Manager Fiona Talwar-Lomberg (left) developing a point in conversation with Caldecott Association Secretary Gill Cook.

Dear Everyone,

So much came from our meeting on Friday 29th June - thank you to all who attended. One of the most memorable moments for me was listening to Gill Cook of the Caldecott Association speak of the importance of the PETT Archive “to the children from homes and backgrounds where they had no support or any family at all need to find out more about where they grew up, meet the people they lived with and much more.” I am sure we are all holding this in mind as we work together to further explore the all of the emerging ideas in support of ensuring a stronger future for the work of the Trust.

When over 20 PETT supporters gathered, including the PETT team and Trustees, on Friday 29th June, we discussed how the internationally recognised Archive had developed out of the learning and experiences of Therapeutic Communities. Members of some of those communities represented in the Archive shared why it is of such great importance to themselves and others, who can find an important part of their lives and history there. Craig, our archivist, shared the potential to do even more - to offer people who work with others, as well as research organisations, politicians and policy-makers, immense opportunities to influence the future by listening and learning from the stories and records the Archive holds.

There was intensive discussion of the Trust’s very difficult financial situation and we all learnt more of the many efforts, made over many years, to put the Trust on a stronger financial footing - of the successes, and of the very real challenges still to be overcome. There was good and challenging debate, from which emerged a range of suggestions and ideas to support the current PETT site and the Archive into the future.

Some of the ideas from the day included

  • to create a Membership programme, with monthly contributions to provide a basic stable income for the Archive;
  • to approach local business and councils and wider PETT connections (including universities) for financial and hands-on contributions;

  • to use the website to raise more funds - asking for a small subscription in order to download documents from the library, for example;

  • to use the wealth of unique film, photographic, audio and other documents in the Archive to create training packs and programmes, and perhaps host training seminars as well as providing access online;

  • to draw on the help of friends and supporters to use the onsite accommodation more fully

We will do our utmost to run with those ideas and most likely need your efforts to turn all of these ideas into actions as swiftly as possible – you will recall that our biggest hurdle is (and has been for so long) the lack of hands to the deck.

What was clear to all, is that the Archive can only be viable and sustainable into the future, if it is based on a sound business model – one that meets PETT’s charitable objectives on the one hand, and reliably generates a surplus that funds the service on the other. We shared how the Trustees would identify which of the various proposals coming forward offers the best fit to PETT’s charitable objectives and the safest prospect to build a stronger future for the Planned Environment Therapy Archive.

Many of those present on the day offered practical help; others started to explore new routes for financial support; and many of you have since been in touch with more ideas.

Thank you, everyone, for your prompt care and attention in support of PETT and thank you for your continued and generous commitment to support efforts to secure the Archive into the future.


Sent with kind regards on behalf of the PETT Trustees,

Fiona Talwar-Lomberg

Transition Project Manager

Context: See Rosemary Lilley, PETT Chair, "Update (June 2018)"

3. "What leads to innovation in mental healthcare? Reflections on clinical expertise in a bureaucratic age"

An important new article in the Psychiatric Bulletin by anthropologist Neil Armstrong, based on a Phoenix Unit Witness Seminar hosted and recorded by the Archive and Study Centre in October 2016:

The Phoenix Unit was an acute admissions ward run according to the therapeutic community concept at the Littlemore Hospital in Oxford. It was set up by Bertram Mandelbrote in 1959 and closed in 1996. The ethos of the Phoenix was to explore the behaviours and feelings of residents through community life and, in particular, in group settings. Daily community groups formed the centre of care and were supplemented by working groups, occupational therapy, crisis groups and relatives' groups.

The Archive recorded and transcribed the six group sessions."There were 23 participants, including psychiatrists, nurses, a psychologist, a social worker, an occupational therapist and an art therapist." In the four pages of the article a great deal of ground is covered, and just one among the questions raised is "Do we undervalue expertise by experience because of quite recent changes in how we understand the nature of expertise itself?"

In other words, have generations raised in a culture of accountability in which "Quantification is a way of making decisions without seeming to decide" lost the capacity to see and therefore trust and listen to, and learn from, the expertise of experience? And if so, is what is offered by PETT in the Archive and Study Centre - in Witness Seminars and Archive Weekends, in the materials it holds and its philosophy of engaged and supportive archives and oral history - a corrective? Or are we all swimming against an inevitable sea?

Neil Armstrong, Lecturer in Anthropology, Magdalen College, University of Oxford: "What leads to innovation in mental healthcare? Reflections on clinical expertise in a bureaucratic age", CLICK HERE.

4. Solihull Academy

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: If you're into the adventure of history applied to the futures of children who don't fit comfortably into the general school setting, you should be following the developments at Solihull Academy, under founding Principal Stephen Steinhaus.

They have a website (here) but it still hasn't caught up with the pace of developments at the school itself. For that, you will need to go to their Twitter feed - CLICK HERE - or, even more reliably up-to-date, their Facebook Page: CLICK HERE.
Context: "Dear Ralph, David, Katy...Look what you've done!", CLICK HERE.
"A lasting legacy, by Stephen Steinhaus, Assistant Principal at Trinity Catholic School", CLICK HERE.

5. New on the website

Letter from Shama: Therapeutic Adventures in India, and a new service user movement. CLICK HERE.
Sowing the seeds of Group Analysis in India, Chai-alogue Events, "Nobody Reads the Fine Print", keeping the spirit of adventure alive under pressure and underfunded: PETT Fellow Shama Parkhe updates us on the vivacious life and times of the Hank Nunn Institute and developing therapeutic community practice in India.

Adventures in Archiving: [Assistant Archivist] Jen and the pH balanced mountain. CLICK HERE.
"Don't mess with an archivist.": Drop five Dalek-faced Tardises on my drive, says Assistant Archivist Jen, and see what happens.

Things (explained below) [sic]. CLICK HERE.
Things have beauty and tell stories. Archivist Craig Fees shares some of the Things that are being counted and prepared for storage as we wrap up the last 30 years. Ancient dictation machines, computers, reel to reel tape recorders... Each carries the interesting scent of a Time.

Flying Visits: David Kennard. CLICK HERE.
Okay. Our segue in this piece was a bit Mornington Crescent, for which we apologise. We went via jazz saxophonist David Kennard (have any other leaders in the therapeutic community movement played with British jazz/blues legend Alexis Korner?) via the American saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker, to a bird which briefly took up residence in the main meeting room, obscuring the adventure that a visit from David is. On this occasion it led ultimately to the digitisation of family audio tapes, one reel to reel reaching back to David's childhood. Do you have any old family tapes?

The Magnificent (Two) Dozen: First pictures from last Friday's meeting. CLICK HERE.
This is the meeting referred to in "Letter from Fiona", above, the unofficially titled "What Do We Do Now?! (not the official title)" event.

Team visit to Braziers Park. CLICK HERE.
Following on from the meeting referred to in "Letter from Fiona", above, she (Fiona - Transition Project Manager), Trust Chair Rosemary Lilley, Trust Executive Director Richard Rollinson, and archivist Craig Fees visited the anciently-sited community and social research/education organism that is Braziers Park. As the webpage says, "Braziers is a beautiful and very old house set in extensive grounds and fields, but it is far more than that." Some of that "far more than that" is indicated in this report, but there is far more to be said.Their website is certainly worth exploring.

Marking the first anniversary of John Cross's death. CLICK HERE.
Flowers, thoughts, and pictures to mark the passing of long-standing trustee, former Chair and Director of PETT.

Caldecott Archive Week July 2018. CLICK HERE.
What an austere title for such a colourful and rich occasion! The bare bones are here in this online report, of course, but there is more and links to more: a hidden and long-forgotten herd of cattle; a three year old hears the sounds of the Spanish Civil War; an alert jack russel in the hands of a therapeutic child care pioneer...

Women in Child Care: Ethel Davies (1897-1974). CLICK HERE.
The therapeutic child care pioneer in question (see above). We are rather used to women having been disappeared from history, and that is compounded when the area of national life and heritage to which they have signally contributed has itself been largely disappeared. Ethel Davies - co-Director of the Caldecott Community for over 40 years - emerged rather excitingly in a set of small photographs from the John Brown Collection digitised by Barry Northam during the recent Caldecott Archive Week. You can see those scans here - but can you help us find out more about her?

And for the Kaki Tree on both June 9th and July 10th, CLICK HERE.

6. 70 Years of The Mulberry Bush School

"70 Years of The Mulberry Bush School", a new book edited by Mulberry Bush Organisation CEO John Diamond, with contributions from PETT Executive Director/Chair of Trustees of the Mulberry Bush Organisation Richard Rollinson, and with contributions from the Archive, was launched at the Mulberry Bush AGM on July 6th, and is available for sale. A snip at £12.84. CLICK HERE.

7. Listening in to a conversation:

"One of our main and most important aims is to gather and archive as much as possible about the history of the Community. We have an archive in PETT - Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre in Gloucestershire. We did look into nearer archive centres but none offered the facilities to learn how to work on our own material, to digitise, transcribe, scan and catalogue and store safely our material...PETT offers accommodation and full catering if there are enough of us working down there. (Otherwise we self cater). It is in a beautiful setting and holds archives for other children's homes many of which did not survive as Caldecott has. PETT is a research centre to Universities and others who need to see what has happened in the past. PETT includes, for us, all people who are connected with Caldecott in any way: parents of children, staff, children of children....anyone"
From an email shared by Gill Cook, Secretary, The Caldecott Association
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